RCI Timeshare Exchange Network
The Mechanics of Timeshare Exchange
RCI Vacations Exchange
Sometimes timeshare owners will say "Oh, yeah. I own with RCI.” What they usually mean is that they own a week (or more) at a private resort that is affiliated with RCI, Resort Condominium International, for exchange purposes. In order to be a member of an exchange network such as RCI, you must own a timeshare or vacation ownership package that is affiliated with RCI.
RCI was the first of its kind to be established as a timeshare exchange network in early 1970s and has become the world leader in global timeshare exchange giving access to over 4,300 resorts in more than 100 countries. Because RCI has remained the world’s leader in timeshare exchange with a member base of nearly 3 million members, we mostly based our overview on RCI trading guidelines to explain how timeshare exchange works. Moreover, we will be taking a quick look at how it has evolved over the years in continuing to adapt timeshare ownership to the travel needs of its members by implementing a point-based exchange system. Today, RCI has become the world’s largest point-based travel club.
For most timeshare owners, RCI is an exchange network to trade in their interval for another destination around the world, while, for others, RCI is a great pool of destinations that offers great discounted weeks and travel savings. RCI offers 3 pools of vacations: Exchange Vacations- trading deposited weeks for other destinations; Extra-vacations offering destinations of 60 days+ of arrival for a purchase price; and Last Call Vacations in which weeks within 45 days and less of arrival can be purchased between 395CAD and 450CAD depending on the size of accommodation.
If you are considering buying a timeshare to use basically for trading to other destinations around the world, we would recommend that you take into consideration the Trading Power of your timeshare week or perhaps consider buying into a substantial quantity of RCI Points.
The Trading Power of Timeshare Weeks
Most resorts in the timeshare industry are affiliated with an exchange network to allow their owners the alternative of exchanging their week to another property instead of returning to the same place, same time year after year. What that means to timeshare owners is by depositing their week in the pool of that particular exchange network, they may in return request another destination, at another time of the year, in another size of accommodation than what they own. Chances are your home resort may very well be affiliated with RCI and therefore, it is important for you to understand the mechanics of timeshare exchanges in the RCI weeks system and how RCI assigns trading power to specific ownership.
Traditionally, RCI used to grant exchanges based on your ownership to obtain similar in exchange. Factors such as the Resort Classification where you own - Gold Crown, Silver, International Distinction and so on - the calendar week and travel season such as RED, WHITE and BLUE seasons - blue being the low and RED the high season - the size of your accommodation from studio to 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms - were all taken into consideration in your exchange. Therefore, for a vacation owners who wanted to trade a 'blue studio' for ex., in a high season for a 2 bedrooms, it was barely impossible until agents started assigning availability to the first come first served basis. Pressured by complaints to come up with a more transparent system to assign weeks fairly according to what members owned, RCI established around 2008 a trading value to members' weeks. Based on a point-based scale, deposited weeks were from then on assigned a value between 3 to 60 points when deposited for exchanges.
Therefore, if your main motivation of buying a timeshare is to exchange around the world, we certainly recommend you take into consideration the mechanics of timeshare exchanges and the Trading Power of timeshare weeks in the RCI exchange network before you purchased your next vacation ownership. Let’s take a closer look at what determine the weeks exchange value in RCI called Deposit Trading Power.
RCI Deposit Trading Power
At the time of deposit, RCI assigns a value to your vacation time, called Deposit Trading Power. This Trading Power will determine what Exchange vacation options will be available to you when searching for a destination. Depositing in RCI is free and weeks members can deposit as early as 2 years to 9 months prior to the check-in date for them to obtain the full Deposit Trading Power for exchanges.
To determine the trading value of your interval, RCI will still take into consideration the level of your resort's classification, the size of your accommodation as well as the travel season of your week. For exemple, a week in Florida in a 2-bedroom condo may have a value between 22 and 32. What will assign the highest value of your deposit however will also depend on the time of deposit. To encourage members to deposit as early as possible, the « Time of Deposit » is now an important factor to obtain the highest Trading Value for your timeshare week - the sooner you deposit your timeshare in RCI, the greater your exchange value. The earliest to deposit a week is between 2 years to a minimum of 9 months prior check-in date. This will give you the maximum Deposit Trading Power available to you. Anytime after that, the value will be diminished down to a minimum of 45% of the interval value if your week were deposited 14 days and less from the check-in date.
RCI Weeks Deposit Trading Power Schedule
- Deposits of 9 months to 2 years (271 days +) before check-in -- retain 100% of the trading value
- Deposits of 6 to 9 months (181 to 270 days) before check-in -- retain 95%
- Deposits of 3 to 6 months (91 to 180 days) before check-in -- retain 90%
- Deposits of 1 to 3 months (31 to 90 days) before check-in -- retain 80%
- Deposits of 15 to 30 days before check-in -- retain 60%
- Deposits of 14 days or less before check-in -- retain 45%
The Deposit Trading Power has definitely made the weeks exchange more transparent, more flexible and certainly simpler to manage for timeshare owners. Therefore, if your week value equals somewhere around 15 to 20 - depending on the time you deposited your week - you would benefit from accessing an exchange that would only require 10 points... therefore, leaving you with an excess of points in your account for further exchanges. Should you be short of trading value to access the desired destination and accommodation, it may be possible for you to combine, for a fee, 2 weeks to increase the trading value in your account and access the desired destination.
Deposit Trading Power vs Exchange Trading Power
When you deposit your week, RCI assigns a trading power value, known as Deposit Trading Power. Deposit Trading Power is assigned by a variety of criteria, including demand, supply, season, unit type, and type of deposit and time of deposit. Upon deposit, you will then be able to exchange into any week with an equal or lesser Exchange Trading Power value.
During the exchange process, your Deposit Trading Power is compared against the trading power of all available exchanges, referred to as Exchange Trading Power, to determine which Exchange Vacations are available to you. Exchange Trading Power is the value assigned to all resort inventory available for exchange in the RCI system. Unlike Deposit Trading Power, which is locked-in, Exchange Trading Power is always changing based on supply and demand.
Note that it is important to understand that the weeks system, on a point system, is not to be confused with RCI Points. Trading value generally are counted from 3 to 60 points, whereas the RCI Points account are in the thousands... from 10,000 to 100,000s of thousands points. If you are telling me that you have 35 points in your account, that tells me that you are trading in the RCI weeks system not in RCI Points.
Trading in the RCI Points System
The sizes of accommodation in timeshare resorts vary from studios (basically a hotel suite with mini-kitchen facilities, for 2 to 4 people) to up to 1, 2 or 3 bedroom condos with full kitchen facilities, accommodating up to 10-12 people. The same trading value applies here too, except that it is translated in an RCI Points-Based ownership. If you previously owned a fixed week in a 2-bedroom in a home resort that has recently converted their weeks into RCI Points, the RCI points you may be allowed to convert your week into may vary anywhere from 45,000 to 95,000 RCI Points. The biggest advantage of the RCI Points System is that it no longer discriminates against what members own and is fully translated into an allotment of points deposited in the members' account on a yearly or biennial basis. The RCI Points system has greatly simplified the exchanges and members can now book upon availability based on a first-come, first-served basis.
Booking windows in RCI Points and Weeks
Both Weeks and RCI Points Memberships will allow members to search and book reservation based on what they own and their respective booking window. A booking window is essentially a window of opportunity when members can request a specific type of reservation with less competition from other RCI subscribing members - a priority booking if you'd like. Each type of reservation at an RCI affiliated resort has its own associated reservation window.
For converted weeks into RCI Points, RCI Points Members will always have an opportunity to book their Home Week before it is made available to other members as well as having a priority over available units in their Home Resort or at other resorts within their Home Group of resorts.
- RCI Weeks -- choose from any of the available RCI Weeks Affiliated Resorts -- 2 years or less
- Home Week -- reserve fixed time and unit you own -- 13-12 months prior to check-in
- Home Resort -- reserve fixed or floating time at any unit -- 12-11 months prior to arrival
- Home Group -- reserve a unit at a resort within your Home Group or Resorts -- 11-10 months
- Standard Reservation -- Choose from any of the available RCI Points Affiliated Resorts -- 10 months or less
For more information on the mechanics of RCI Exchange Systems, register for free online webinar by calling us toll free or register on our contact page.